Head to South Carolina to enjoy the relaxing city of Georgetown. The neighboring areas of Pawley’s Island, Murrell’s Inlet, and Litchfield Beach are also part of The Hammock Coast – sometimes overlooked because of their northern neighbor, Myrtle Beach. Don’t make that mistake.
For a calm, less crowded family vacation, check out our list of things to do in Georgetown, SC.
When we are traveling with kids, I sometimes don’t make the effort to seek out a tour. I’m always fearful if they will be bored, or restless…but each time we do it I am cheerfully surprised at their attentiveness (even when it doesn’t seem like it at the moment.)
Even more so, I am constantly amazed at what I learn on these tours! Swamp Fox Tours was unbelievably informative! I have so much more appreciation for the small town of Georgetown now!
Our driver gave us the scoop on the 300 year history of the historic district – the 3rd oldest city in South Carolina!
- Did you know Georgetown was probably the site of the first European settlement, back in 1526?
- Did you know the city was spared during the war because it was the leading grower of indigo, used by the British Army to dye their uniforms?
- Did you know that because of that indigo, Georgetown became the second official port of entry, after Charleston? And this led to the wealth and growth of the city up until the Revolution.
- After the war, farmers turned to rice. Georgetown supplied half the rice used in the US, and exported more rice than any other port in the world.
- These are just a few gems of info we learned on our adventure!
Two of my favorite stops along our tour included a stop at the home of Joseph Rainey. He was the first African American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, after being born into slavery. He was elected multiple times and worked diligently for civil rights and reconciliation with the North.
Another fun stop was under the canopy of live oak trees that lined the streets of the historic district. On Prince Street you can glimpse a view of the SC Champion Live Oak. It’s over 500 feet tall! It’s second only to Charleston’s Angel Oak.
You’ll catch the Swamp Fox Tours on Front Street in the Historic District. But don’t leave when the tour is over! There is so much more to explore in this area, including the Harborwalk.
We parked (for free) at the Visitor’s Center, picked up a few maps, and then walked along the water’s edge until it dead ends into the Kaminski House Museum. We didn’t opt for the tour (it’s a gorgeous home filled with 17th and 18th century antiques) but we enjoyed exploring the grounds.
Views of the Winyah Bay are pretty, especially with some large fishing boats and yachts parked nearby. The view from Kaminski House is the “highest” point with the best photo op!
This is also a great place for lunch or a snack. I really enjoyed the homemade pot pie at Harborside Seafood & Italian. It was very family-friendly! Harvest Moon Ice Cream is also a fun stop if you have room left for dessert.
Three letters: WOW!! I fell in love with this park – and there is just so much to do!
First, let’s talk about the beach. It is FANTASTIC! Sea oats growing along the small dunes are a beautiful site against the water. You’ll find beach frolickers here as well as fisherman – because of the awesome surf fishing here.
Dogs are welcome on the south end of the beach here, too…and (LOVE THIS!) you can camp here at Huntington, with quick access to the beach! WOW!
You can take a leisurely stroll along the 3-miles of beach, or on the boardwalk and 2 short nature trails. Bring your GPS because there are geocaching finds here, too!
On the park you’ll find Atalaya, the Moorish-style winter home of Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington for whom the park is named. Archer was a poet and philanthropist; his wife Anna was a sculptor.
You might be tempted to skip this historic site when you visit because it is a tad extra, over and above the park entrance fee. JUST DO IT! It is so fun. And the kids really loved exploring every nook and cranny.
There is a small “museum” right before you walk into the “castle.” I highly recommend spending a little time here reading about this couple, how the park came to own their home, and about their work…especially BEFORE visiting Brookgreen Gardens, which was their legacy.
The best advice I can give? Plan to spend the entire day. There is so much to do here, you are not going to want to leave (and neither will the kids!)
First, head into the visitor center and grab a map, plus the Brookgreen Detective booklets for kids (my 5yo had a different one than my 9yo so tell them you kiddo’s age!) This is a great “scavenger hunt” experience while they are exploring.
Our first stop was the children’s garden area. They played on the natural playground and toured the fairy tale houses, all before we headed into the LowCountry Zoo area. I think the river otters were our favorite, but we also LOVED the sculpture art in each section of the zoo.
We had so much fun exploring the sculpture across the entire garden. We spent time at the labyrinth, too, which was a big hit with the boys.
We visited Georgetown in off-season, on a particularly COLD and WINDY day…so heading out on the boat tour was not a smart decision for us. However, it is something I highly recommend you do.
You’ll take a pontoon boat out on the 3-4 hours eco tour, from the Harborwalk. Head out on the bay toward the ocean to South Carolina’s oldest lighthouse. You’ll see a Civil War wreck, dolphins and other animals, and have a chance to comb the beach for unique shells.
Again, we were not able to take Plantation Tour this time (reason to return??) but I do want to mention them, as they are important parts of Georgetown’s history.
Hobcaw Barony is now a conservation and research center, but you can tour the house on the property that once hosted Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and others. Interestingly, you can visit the only, fully-intact, slave village on the Grand Strand. There are several programs available here, so check the calendar before heading out.
Hopsewee Plantation. Tour one of the South’s major rice plantations and the birthplace of Thomas Lynch, Jr., one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. If you can make time for it, consider the hands-on sweetgrass basket making workshop – book early!
Litchfield is the perfect home base for exploring Georgetown – and it’s an ideal relaxing escape itself!
You’ll find multiple complexes within the resort, each with condos that offer their own unique personality and benefits. We stayed in the Marsh Hawk complex, condo 3B. While I can’t speak to the other complexes, this one was ideal for us!
It includes a gorgeous view of the marsh – but have no fear about the bugs. A large screened-in patio with plenty of seating and ceiling fans allow you to take it all in with ease.
Our condo had three bedrooms (1 king, 1 queen, and 2 twins.) The boys stayed in the room with twin beds, which included a separate bathroom. The master bath offered a shower and Jacuzzi tub. There was also wifi and a washer/dryer – with plenty of gorgeous living space!
The resort amenities will keep you busy all weekend. There are four golf courses, an indoor pool, outdoor pool with lazy river and play plaza, health and fitness center, bike rentals and bike trails, tennis courts, fishing lake, private beach access, day spa, and Starbucks (yay!)
Now, the kitchen and dining room at Litchfield are huge and gorgeous so you don’t have to head out…but we did! So I want to mention just a few places we really enjoyed near the resort.
Eggs Up Grill made terrific pancakes, and the boys loved their French toast. Love the way their kid menu allows you to pick three items from a list. This was definitely a locals’ hangout, too. Big plus!
BisQit is located within Hammock Shops Village, which is worth a stop! The biscuits were heavenly – I had apple butter and chicken in my selection. The boys had theirs covered with cinnamon and sugar!
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Disclosure: Thank you to Georgetown County for hosting my family and me. Opinions here are (always) my own.
After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.
Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.